Judge drops charges in Calif. paparazzo attack

Fri Jul 2, 2010 8:28pm EDT
 
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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A California judge on Friday dismissed battery charges against two men accused of attacking a celebrity photographer who was taking pictures of actor Matthew McConaughey while he was surfing in Malibu.

Superior Judge Lawrence J. Mira, whose court resides in the seaside enclave just north of Los Angeles, dismissed the charges against the two men at the request of prosecutors after jurors deadlocked.

"After evaluating the case, we felt that a mistrial would not result in any different type of result, so we decided not to proceed," said a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles District Attorney's Office.

Back in 2008, Richid Altmbareckouhammou was working for a French news agency taking pictures of the actor as he surfed the waves off Malibu, when the two accused attackers allegedly threw him in the water during a brawl.

The incident made headlines around the world and along with other incidents sparked talk among Los Angeles officials of curbing paparazzi public access to Hollywood stars.

(Editing by Jill Serjeant)